Recently in events Category

big news for the lab for social computing

My Lab for Social Computing has just been given the official green light for something we're really excited about--we're going to become part of the RIT Libraries!

Rather than being a somewhat orphaned group with no formal home, we're going to become a full-fledged separate organizational unit of the library system, which will give us access to their extraordinary team of administrative staff, a wonderful office location in the library itself, and a college/department-neutral space that doesn't leave any of the many faculty working with us feeling like they're second-class citizens.

Anyone who knows me knows that libraries have always been a big part of my professional life, and this move feels like it's perfect for both the lab and the library.

We'll be having a "grand re-opening" on Friday, February 13th, and we've managed to convince the amazing David Weinberger, philosophy PhD, Berkman fellow, marketing guru, author of Everything is Miscellaneous, and all-around wonderful guy, to be our featured speaker.

So...make sure to block out some time on that Friday the 13th to hear David talk, and to check out our new digs!

(Why no link to the Lab website? Well, it's under grand re-construction itself! We should have a new site (Drupal-based, yay!) up at the beginning of January, and all the information about our grand re-opening will show up there. I promise I will blog and twitter and email that information around as soon as it's live!)

julian dibbell @ rit on wednesday 4/2

I'm delighted to announce that author Julian Dibbell will be speaking here at RIT tomorrow.

Title: Ludocapitalism – A few ways of making real money from a virtual economy, and what they mean
Time: 7:30pm
Location: RIT College of LIberal Arts auditorium (06-A205).

Julian is smart and funny and provocative, and the talk promises to be wonderful--please join us!

julian dibbell @ rit on april 2nd

This is an early heads up to my Rochester-area readers that Julian Dibbell will be speaking on campus on April 2nd, at 7:30pm. I'll be posting more information soon, but this lets you get it on your calendars :)

rpo benefit concert for tsunami relief

My stepfather, who plays for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), helped to organize a benefit concert by the orchestra for tsunami victims. If you're in the Rochester area, please consider attending and donating. (Our family will certainly be there!)

Here's the press release, with details:

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is partnering with United Way of Greater Rochester for a concert to benefit United Way's South Asia Response Fund. On Sunday, January 30th at 4:00 pm, Jeff Tyzik, Principal Pops Conductor, will lead the orchestra in an amazing performance dedicated to helping those across the globe affected by the Tsunami. The concert will be held at the Bethel Christian Fellowship, located at 321 East Avenue.

The performance for all ages will highlight reflective pieces from Copland, Beethoven, Barber, and others. The RPO will also be joined by a children's choir from The Harley School, led by Jay Stetzer. Although the concert will not be ticketed, there is a suggested minimum donation of $10.00 per person, or $20.00 per family. All checks must be made to: United Way South Asia Response Fund, which was created to support long-term recovery efforts in affected areas.

"We are thankful the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra musicians and staff recognize the long-term impact of this disaster, and are willing to volunteer their time to help out," said Joe Calabrese, United Way of Greater Rochester President and CEO. "During a time like this, it is vital for our community to continue to pull together for relief efforts."

"We were moved to participate in the relief effort in the best way that we know, which is by joining together in our music-making," said Joanna Bassett, flutist and chair of the RPO Orchestra Committee. "The music we've chosen will allow all of us to pause and reflect over the magnitude of the losses, and to be uplifted by the collective strength of the human spirit. We are pleased to be partnering with the United Way, which has both an important local and international presence. We applaud their focus on long-term community rebuilding efforts in South Asia, and are pleased to donate our time to such a worthy effort. We are also grateful for the use of Bethel's sanctuary, and for the assistance of our RPO staff and volunteers."

The concert program includes Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and "Simple Gifts" from Appalachian Spring, Barber's Adagio, the finale from Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and selections from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. The choir from The Harley School will perform "A Gift of Love" and "The Magic Penny."

For more information about the RPO Tsunami Relief concert, please visit or call the Box Office at 454-2100. To learn more about United Way's South Asia Relief Fund, and long-term recovery, please log on to

holiday traditions

When I was a child, our family celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas--and with both, it was the cultural rather than the religious aspects that we focused on. Now that I'm the grownup, I've instituted the same tradition in our home, and each year we have a christmas tree and a menorah, latkes and sugar cookies, holiday lights and holographic hanukkah glasses to view them.

We don't do it for the presents--each year we've given fewer and fewer. We do it for the sense of tradition, the warmth it brings to the house during a cold season, and the many enjoyable trappings that accompany both holidays.

I'm particularly fond of holiday music, and every December I dig out my extensive collection (it used to involved finding the CDs and/or it's just reloading the archived mp3s), and start playing it at home and in the office. I've got a pretty eclectic selection of tunes, and I'm particularly fond of the Starbucks holiday mixes. My absolute favorite is a 1998 mix called "Hi-Fidelity Holiday," which starts with a fabulous, barely-recognizable version of Jingle Bells by Esquivel. I've now hooked Weez on it, as well. Feliz Navidad, baby!)

Last night when I got home from a lovely dinner at Weez's house, Gerald was watching a PBS special featuring a holiday concert by the Blind Boys of Alabama. They were doing a rendition of Little Drummer Boy with one of their guests, Michael Franti. I can't remember the last time I was so moved by song, and I immediately purchased it on iTunes, and may also buy their fabulous rendition of Go Tell It On the Mountain featuring Tom Waits, and O Come All Ye Faithful with Me'Shell Ndegéocello. If you get a chance to see the special, I highly recommend it. Far better with the visuals.

This afternoon, we'll head out to Stokoe Farms, which is where we've been getting our trees since we moved to Rochester in 1997. There's a ritual associated with that, too, of course. We have to wander through the rows and rows of trees (usually the Fraser firs, but this year I'm thinking about maybe a Concolor) until one speaks to me. (You can roll your eyes at that...the kids certainly do!) Then Gerald cuts it down, the workers haul it back to the main barn and run it through the needle shaker and baling machines. While Gerald ties it onto the van, the boys and I enjoy the free hot chocolate and cookies, and they climb around in the straw-bale fort. Then it's back home to set up and decorate the tree, enjoy some hot chocolate and a fire at home, and maybe do a little early baking. (My favorite holiday recipe, from Gourmet Magazine, is for these absolutely amazing double chocolate walnut biscotti. They make wonderful gifts--if you can keep yourself from eating them before they're wrapped and given away!)

There's a lot to be said for holiday traditions, and even more to be said for focusing on holiday activities you do together as a family rather than the frantic gift acquisition and exchange process.

Happy holidays!

powerpoint redux

I'm spending the entire day today sitting in bed, finishing up powerpoint-for-pay that should have been done months and months ago, but that I've put off because it's such an unpleasant task.

The slides are to accompany a new edition of a data communication textbook that I used during my first two years at RIT, when I actually taught data comm classes. The money is good, but the work is tedious and unrewarding. Blah.

In a nice example of synchronicity, however, David Byrne is speaking here in Rochester tonight, about his creative work with PowerPoint! I just ordered a ticket to reward myself.

havin' a party

dc_e_fuzzyWe're having a (small) party on Friday night for my birthday, and Weez has been dropping fabulous discs in my office to fit the "cocktail lounge" theme that we've chosen.

The best of the bunch is one called Ultra-Lounge, which has (I kid you not) a leopard-print velour cover on the disc.

Turns out that UltraLounge has a web site, complete with streaming lounge music and a whole lotta compilations. w00t! I'm craving the Tiki Sampler...may have to acquire that one for myself.

rheingold @ rit

howard rheingoldHoward Rheingold arrives in Rochester tonight, and will be speaking on campus tomorrow evening at 7:30pm as part of RIT's Gannett Lecture Series.

If you've ever heard Howard speak, you probably don't need me to tell you it's well worth attending the talk. If you haven't heard Howard speak...well, it's well worth attending the talk!

You can visit Howard's web site for more information on him, and/or the Smart Mobs site that supports his excellent recent book.

shneiderman at rit

Tomorrow Ben Shneiderman, HCI guru and author of the recent book Leonardo's Laptop, will be doing a lecture on the RIT campus from 1-2pm.

I've been invited to the luncheon preceding the lecture, so I'm doing some quick reading tonight. Shneiderman's web site seems a bit out of date (it doesn't even mention the new book, for example). I was rather hoping that I'd find a blog there, but no such luck.

I did find a few blog entries that mentioned a talk he'd given last year--one by Lilia Efimova, and one by Jay Cross.

Seems like some of what Shneiderman's working on these days regarding visualization of large data sets would be well-suited to the world of YASNS. Visualization is a weakness in most of the systems I've seen. There's all that data there, but it's awfully hard to make sense of except in the simplest of ways. (Hmmm. That needs some teasing out. Maybe tomorrow after his talk.)

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